The astounding popularity of Japanese vending machines

The astounding popularity of Japanese vending machines

vending machine in the street in Japan

Did you know that in Japan there are around 5 million vending machines nationwide? It is a fact that Japan has the highest density of vending machines in the whole world!

The?service of the vending machine is about 1 machine per 25 people?( Japan Vending Machine Association ). The yearly sales of vending machines in?Japan are about $Y5.5 billion to $Y7 billion?( Nippon News ).

I was just surprised why there are so many vending machines in Japan practically everywhere!

What can you buy normally from vending machines in Japan?

I have taken the liberty to picture all various vending machines when I was visiting on my short summer vacation. Before going to Japan, my family went ahead a week earlier than me since they are visiting her relatives.

Filipinos?who grew up the big cities are already diluted with a variety of mixed races?which can be Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese-Chinese or some distant European lineage with the varying proportions.

Some are the interesting items that can be found on the Japanese vending machines are:

Mostly Pop

There is a lot of variety of pop to choose from as compared to the Canadian market where I run the?vending machine business.

Here are some the pictures that I have taken recently that showcase sugary, healthy and energy drinks that anyone can buy on the street.

The fact is that since the vending machines are mostly located on the street, then a kid can potentially buy an energy drink or load of coffee which is not good for one’s health.

vending machine on the street in Japan at night

vending machine in japan side by side


You see that the coffee drinks contained inside a typical Japanese vending machine is a concoction of a variety of BOSS coffee brands.

drinks inside vending machine in Japan

coffee drinks in japanese vending machine

As you can see that there are Green tea, Water, Vitamin C drink ( I personally like the Suntory C 1000mg Vitamin C ).

Since there are so many pop machines in Japan. I figure that their kidney must be in great condition as compared to Americans or Canadians.

This fact is further determined to be held by?statistical evidence that there are only about 2,640 dialysis patients in Japan per million?which is a low figure compared to western countries.

I wish I can encourage people in America and Canada to drink more liquids whether it be: Green tea, Bottled Water, Vitamin C drinks or a dilute a POP drink with a follow up on water, Vitamin water or even just a Gatorade or Powerade which can help greatly on our kidney health.


You see that the coffee drinks contained inside a typical Japanese vending machine are a concoction of a variety of BOSS coffee brands.

Chocolate and Chips

As you can see from the recent pictures taken below on the Japanese snack machines which are located in the subway are mostly chocolate, chips, and some Japanese cookies.

japanese snack vending machine

japanese snack vending machine




Oh my, we might not approve these kinds of Japanese Cigarette vending machines if they are located out here in America or Canada.

Here in Canada the cigarette is strictly and heavily regulated which has some pros and cons as one may see fit.

The Pros is that

  • No kid or minor is allowed to buy a cigarette vending machine which is highly damaging to one’s health
  • Cigarette may be considered a very bad chemical toxic substance that still needs to be regulated for the benefit of the majority of the population
  • The only Cigarette may be sold to consenting adults that can show ID’s on which these cigarettes may be sold
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The Cons Maybe

Turn over of Cigarettes sales is not optimized for business purposes

See you can see that anyone in Japan actually can buy a cigarette on a vending machine outside the street.

I hope in the future the Japanese government can regulate these machines even just installing a simple scanner to verify the legal age of the person who is going to purchase a cigarette.

I recently read an article regarding the undertaking of a?Japanese company undertaking a technology that can scan the buyers face to count the wrinkles and skin sags to check and verify a smoker’s age.

If the initial scan fails then the buyer would have to scan an ID to check is the legal age.

What if the buyer has a babyface even when they are already in their 40s or even 50’s?

Well, some people use?infrared light therapy for face?to set them apart from others who do not look like their age.

Japanese Cigarette vending machine located on the street

Japanese cigarette and pop machine located on a public street


Who does not like Ramen soup!

japanese vending machine with ramen soup selections


Hot Meals

Ice Cream

My family is starting to get addicted to mochi and Japanese ice cream!

Japanese mochi and ice cream vending machine

Used Panties!

I could not believe it myself is this is indeed a Used Panties vending machine.

I will not buy used panties on a Japanese vending machine.

There are a lot of questions that come into mind:

Are the panties from adults?

Are the panties from underage children?

Are the panties fake and sprayed with some fake scent?

Is this a fetish there?

I guess all the unusual stuff abounds in?Akihabara.

used panties in Japanese vending machine


There are hundreds of toy vending machines in Japan!

I also run some toy vending machines here in Canada and they are predominantly placed in Asian locations since it is part of the culture with so many cool, collectible and cute toys to amuse the young at heart or as a small token for children.

japanese toy vending machine at Akihabara street

Who owns the vending machines in Japan?

You will be surprised again that Coca Cola owns about 1M vending machine in Japan.

The first Coca Cola vending machine that was introduced in Japan was in 1962 in which all coke was produced locally in Japan.

I was very fortunate to get a glimpse on the Coca Cola serviceman doing the usual refilling on one of the coca-cola vending machines in Japan.

Japanese coca cola vending machine

coca cola vending machine in Japan with door open

Japanese coca cola work van in japan

I have nothing to say about Japan on the subject of utilizing even old coca cola vending machines.

They still have lots of them around and have stayed in place even if the Coke pop machine is old as long as it is still in good working condition.

Here is a picture of an older type of Japanese Coke vending machine which I accidentally stumbled.

older type of japanese coca cola vending machine

Here in Canada people always complain that the old has to give way to the new

I have noticed that in Canada customers are very demanding and always requests?upgrades even is the sales does not justify upgrading?or changing the machines to a newer type.

Here in Canada, the vendors have to pay a monthly fee of $7 to $15 for the?debit credit device installed on the vending machine?since according to statistics that more and more people are geared toward the cashless era.

This could be very good for me since there will be no more thefts and vandalism.

But the downside is that for example the gross sales on the location is just $80 per month with a net profit of just $40 ( assuming you made a 100% profit mark up? ) and deduct the debit credit $7 to $15 fee monthly? You will be in a losing proposition.

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In Japan, the economy is very strong in cash sales since I have noticed that everyone has coins and bills.?Here are the statistics on why Japan is very strong on the cash economy link.

Here is an excerpt from the link above :

Why is Japan sluggish in adopting cashless?

Trust in cash, the sense of safety in carrying it, fewer stores that accept credit cards and e-money are factors pointed out in the Cashless Vision report.

The report, released in April, noted cash has been reliable in Japan, where counterfeit bills are rare. The crime rate is low, so people feel safe carrying cash, and ATMs are readily available.

Also, although many convenience stores and large retailers allow various payment tools, many small enterprises only accept cash.

A search for Tokyo eateries that accept credit cards on the Tabelog website, a popular restaurant search service, found only 49,350 stores out of 135,764 as of last week.

Smaller outlets are reluctant because of the cost to process credit card and e-money transactions, the Cashless Vision report pointed out, noting credit card fees can cut into their profits. Credit card fees can average 3.09 percent, according to January research by Nomura Research Institute”


Well, the other 4.5M vending machines are produced and run locally by local vendors in Japan.

Newer type of Japanese vending machine

Newer type of Touch Screen Japanese vending machine

Here are some 7 Interesting facts why there are so many vending machines in Japan?

Tons of people in Japan

I was surprised that there are just so many people in Japan from sunrise till late at night.

Whenever you go there are constant hundreds of people walking around.

The population in Japan presently is pegged at around

The current?population of Japan is 126,791,843 as of Wednesday, September 4, 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates?(Source:?

The population in the Philippines is 108,375, 664 as of Wednesday, September 4, 2019, which is also based on the latest United Nations estimates.

This shows clearly that just the population will justify the number of vending machines in Japan. More people will surely produce more sales!

I doubt in the Philippines will have a chance of placement of vending machines, I’m positively sure that all the vending machines in the Philippines will be vandalized.

I grew up in the Philippines and there are tons of drugs and crime everywhere.?Here are stats on the crime in the Philippines.

The Philippines has the highest crime rate in Southeast Asia and followed by Thailand.

I just wonder why there are still a lot of westerners flocking to Philippines and Thailand for retirement options?

Cost of Labor

The cost of labor in Japan is very high. The hourly wage in Japan is around 12.40 Canadian Dollars which is not far from Vancouver, BC which is around $13.85 an hour.

The Japanese would be better off by eliminating manual sales clerk to man shops by deploying vending machines. I also have checked some of the rentals for 1 bedroom which is very reasonably priced at around 500 Canadian Dollars in Tokyo per month which makes sense that you can just find a regular job and easily pay the rent.

I think there are a lot of business opportunities in Japan because when I was running about there are tons of Chinese restaurants and was surprised that a lot of announcements in big themed Japanese department stores are in Mandarin and Japanese.

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The Chinese in Japan are quite convenient and freely speaking in their native tongue and fully assimilated into the Japanese culture in my observation.

I spent a day in the Tokyo National Museum and there are tons of local Japanese patrons that are willing to pay 20 Canadian dollars to see the exhibit of the ancient Chinese culture which they deeply admired:?Romance of the 3 Kingdoms

Three kingdoms exhibit in Tokyo National Museum

Three kingdoms exhibit in Tokyo National Museum

Of Course, I was also fascinated by the?Japanese Samurai Era?( Samurai and Bushido by History Channel Link ). I also took pictures of the?Tokugawa Shogunate Warrior

samurai warrior costume

No Crime

Japan has the lowest crime rate in the world.

That’s why it is fine just to leave vending machines on the street.

I have taken some pictures on vending machines that are located on a street which if it was located in?Canada would have been surely smashed and vandalized.

japanese vending machine in a quiet neighborhood

japanese vending machine in a back alley of a quiet neighborhood

These machines are located in a very quiet neighborhood and dark alley without any problems and there are no padlocks or?high-security hasps on the machines.

Cash Based Society

There are a lot of shrines virtually everywhere in Japan.

It is good luck in Japan to carry coins and there are many coins tossed in all the shrines to bring fortune.

100% of the establishments love coins, bills, and cash as a form of payment.

I noticed that when a local Japanese is purchasing $Y13,620 One Way Trip (173 Canadian Dollars) to Osaka, they normally use a credit card which I observed when they are going to take the?Shinkansen train to Osaka.

Everyone Can Be A Vending Machine Owner!

Everyone can be a small businessman in Japan.

Normally one can fill up an application form and management will surely get it approved since it is an accepted norm where you can find vending machines practically everywhere in Japan!

Pay about 1,000 to 2,000 dollars on the installation fee and then place your vending machine!

This comes to mind if I was born in Japan I will surely take this golden opportunity in doing this?extra side hustle business since it is easy to maintain vending machines.

You see after paying the couple of thousand dollars on the application fee with the approval on the installation of the vending machine then it is your permanent location!

Unlike here in America or Canada, the?vendors have to keep on a big smile?always on the vending locations or else you get kicked out which is unheard in Japan

kicked out of location

Maintenance is Easy in Japan

I noticed that the people in Japan are extremely clean and very conscious of their environment.

There are trash cans and recycle Bins normally placed beside the vending machines.

Third parties recycle collectors takes care of these.

Japanese vending machine on the street with recycle bins

Prices are Low

I was surprised that the prices on the Japanese vending machines are maintained at a reasonable level.

The Green Tea, CC drink and Boss Coffee are normally priced at $Y150 (1.86 Canadian ) which is convenient and everywhere on the street and all side alleys and street corners.

I also mentioned that Japan has a low rate of renal disease because of a large amount of liquid intake by the body flushing out toxins.

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